El Paso County Retirement Plan
Mission: Provide secure and competitive retirement benefits through a professionally managed organization. Deliver quality service and communication to employers, members, retirees, beneficiaries and the public.
When can I retire?
Normal Retirement provides full benefits at Age 62 if you have at least 5 years of creditable service, if hired before January 1, 2013, or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012.
Special Early Retirement provides full benefits prior to age 62 when you meet the Rule of 75 or 80, depending on a member’s hire date. The Rule of 75 or 80 is met when the member’s age plus the number of years of creditable service total 75 or 80. If hired after December 31, 2015, a member must be at least age 50 to qualify for this retirement option. If a member is hired before January 1, 2022 or is a sworn officer, the member is under the Rule of 75. If a member is hired on or after January 1, 2022 and is not a sworn officer, the member is under the Rule of 80.
Regular Early Retirement – A reduced benefit is available at age 55 if you have at least 5 years of creditable service, if hired before January 1, 2013, or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012. If you elect to start receiving a monthly benefit, the benefit is reduced 3% for each year you are under age 62.
Go to When You Can Retire for more details.
How is my benefit calculated?
The El Paso County Retirement Plan is a traditional Defined Benefit Retirement Plan and calculates benefits using a predefined formula. We start with a Final Average Monthly Compensation (FAMC). For members hired before January 1, 2022, the FAMC is the average of highest consecutive 36 months of salary out of the last 120 months of employment. For members hired on or after January 1, 2022, the FAMC is the average of the last 60 months of salary. The rest of the formula is as follows:
Monthly Benefit**= (FAMC x Credited Service (prior to 2013) x 2.22%) + (FAMC x Credited Service (after 2013) x 2.00%)
Monthly Benefit**= FAMC x Credited Service x 2.00%
Example: ($3,000 x 20 years x 2.22%) + ($3,000 x 5 years x 2.00%) = $1,632 Per Month
**The minimum monthly pension you can receive is $25 per year of credited service. So if you have 10 years of credited service, your minimum monthly benefit is $250.
Go to Member Log-in/Registration to estimate your monthly benefit. Or, you can receive a benefit estimate by contacting the Retirement Plan. We will ask for the date of when you plan to retire. Your annual benefit statement also provides an estimate of your retirement benefit as of your earliest eligible date of retirement.
What happens to my health insurance coverage?
The El Paso County Retirement Plan does not offer any health insurance to retirees. Your employer may or may not have the option to continue health coverage, however this is separate and independent from the pension benefits we administer at the Plan. We advise all members who are looking to retire to reach out to their respective employers’ Benefits departments for more information on continuing health benefits into retirement.
El Paso County’s Benefits Department can be reached at (719) 520-7420, option #1, or at EmployeeBenefits@elpasoco.com, for questions on retiree health benefits.
Pikes Peak Library District Human Resources Department can be reached at (719) 531-6333 extension 6086.
What should I do if I leave employment prior to retirement?
If you have less than 5 years of creditable service, if hired prior to January 1, 2013 or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, you must take the money out of your retirement account. You can either roll the money into an eligible tax deferred retirement account or have it paid directly to you. If you roll it over, 100% of your account balance is transferred and there are no current tax consequences. If you elect to have it paid to you, the gross amount of the distribution is taxable income and subject to a 20% withholding. If you are under 59 ½ at the time you take the distribution, it is also subject to a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. Go to our Forms tab for a non-vested application.
If you have more than 5 years if hired prior to January 1, 2013 or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, you have the option of taking a distribution of your account balance subject to the same distribution rules as described above, or you can elect to leave the money in the plan and take a deferred retirement benefit. You would be eligible to begin receiving the lifetime benefit as early as age 55. Go to our Forms tab for a vested application.
At the time you leave, you may contact the Retirement Office at 719-520-7490 for assistance in completing the application form.
Can I have my retirement check direct-deposited to my bank?
Yes. We offer direct deposit of your monthly benefit check. By using direct deposit, your benefit will automatically be deposited in your checking or savings account on the first working day of each month. You will need to complete an Application for Direct Deposit through the Retirement Plan Office, or online on this site under our Forms tab. In addition, a notification will be mailed to your residence (if you desire) confirming the deposit and detailing all monthly withholdings and deductions.
Is there any Life Insurance available?
The El Paso County Retirement Plan does not offer any Life Insurance. However, as a retiree of the El Paso County Retirement Plan, you will automatically be eligible for a $3,000 Death Benefit. Upon your death, your named beneficiary will receive the $3,000. This is a gift from the Plan and is taxable.
What happens to my retirement if I die before I start receiving my benefit?
If death occurs with less than five years of service if hired prior to January 1, 2013, or 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, your named beneficiary will receive your account balance at time of death.
If death occurs with more than five years of service, if hired prior to January 1, 2013, or more than 8 years if hired after December 31, 2012, but before you were eligible to retire, generally your named beneficiary will have two options. They can receive twice the amount you have in your retirement account at time of death. Your beneficiary may also choose a monthly lifetime benefit equal to 60% of the benefit you were eligible for at time of death. Payment would begin at the time you would have reached the age of 55.
If death occurs before Normal Retirement Age, but you were qualified under the Rule of 75 for an immediate retirement benefit, generally your named beneficiary will receive a lifetime monthly benefit equal to the 100% Joint and Survivor Benefit. If death occurs after Normal Retirement age generally your named beneficiary will receive a lifetime monthly benefit equal to the 100% Joint and Survivor Benefit.
My spouse and I both participate in the retirement plan. Can we name each other in a joint and survivor option? If one dies, can the other receive both a survivor benefit and a retirement benefit?
You can name each other in a joint and survivor option, and when one dies, the surviving member may receive both a survivor benefit and a retirement benefit.
The broad investment objective of the fund is to earn a total rate of return after all expenses that equals or exceeds the actuarial investment rate assumption. The Trustees, with help from the Executive Director and Investment Consultant, will use the fund’s asset allocation as the primary tool to achieve this goal.
The Board of Trustees will periodically review and evaluate the continued viability of the investment objective, considering, among other factors, expected future returns on invested assets, short and long-term employer cost trends, and employee benefit and inflation expectations.
County Deferred Compensation Plan
El Paso County Retirement Plan Board of Directors
Regular Board Members of the El Paso County Retirement Plan generally serve 4 year terms. Associate Board Members generally serve 1 year terms.
Chair: Chris Long – Term ends 2024.03.31
Vice Chair: Nikki Simmons – Term ends 2026.03.31
Treasurer: Marl Lowderman – Term ends 2022.12.31
Secretary: Ray Bernier – Term ends 2023.03.31
Ryan Chacon – Term ends 2023.03.31
Victoria Bennett – Term ends 2022.12.31
Taylor Gross – Term ends 2022.12.31
You may fill out the form online, print it and mail or email it to the above address. If you have any questions, please call the Retirement Plan at (719) 520-7490.